Gone are the days when cloth diapering meant flat squares of flannel, pins and rubber pants. There isn't as much messy cleanup either.
For the first 10 months with my daughter, I did do the "prefold" diapers with pins along with plastic pants. I spent a total of $40 for all of my supplies for this 10 month period. Then one day in a thrift shop, I found a fitted diaper with Velcro for 50 cents. I was hooked! I found a website that showed directions on how to sew your own fitted diapers at diapersewing.com. I found that I could recycle sheets and towels that I was ready to cut up for rags.
These small successes spurred me to find more diapering solutions online. There is a one-size fitted diaper pattern for sale at www.poopockets.com I also kept my eyes open at thrift shops for more fitted diapers, now that I knew they were available. I purchased five Kooshies for 50 cents apiece. I used them for several months before I decided I didn't like them. I put them up for sale on Ebay and they went for $23. Many work-at-home-moms have started online businesses selling handmade fitted diapers. Plastic pants have been replaced by colorful covers made of high tech fabrics formerly used only for medical purposes or outdoor gear.
As far as laundering the diapers, it is very easy. I toss the diapers into a dry 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Every 2-3 days I toss the diapers into the washer and launder just as I would any other clothing. An easy way to deal with "solids" is to use fleece liners in the diapers. The polar fleece available at Joanns or WalMart can be cut into 4"x9" rectangles. There is no need to finish the edges. This liner acts the same as the "stay-dry" linings in disposable diapers, keeping wetness away from baby. When there is a solid deposit, you can just lift out the liner and shake it into the toilet. The solid waste doesn't stick to the fleece. Then just toss the liner into the diaper bucket. I travel with my diaper bucket when I visit family or anyplace that I know I will have access to a washer. The only time I relied on disposable diapers is when we took a family vacation and stayed in a hotel.
The advantages to cloth diapering are many. First off is the cost. Buying all new fitted diapers and covers can be spendy, $200 or more. But when you compare this to at least $1200 for disposable diapers over the baby's first 2+ years, there is a great savings. Then you can use the same diapers for subsequent children, or you can sell the used diapers to recoup most, if not all, of your original cost.
Second, cloth diapers are much healthier for babies' skin. My daughter is nearly 2 and has never had a diaper rash. Finally, cloth diapers are ecologically sound. I would much rather run a load of wash and send my water through the city sewer system than toss a plastic bag of plastic diapers into a landfill for my great-great grandchildren to deal with.
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